Science Fiction's Finest: Volume 1
Songs By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Buy Soundtrax Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I’m a big science fiction fan and have enjoyed many books, television shows and movies in the genre. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to review Science Fiction’s Finest: Volume 1, a new album from BuySoundtrax Records featuring music from science fiction movies and television series, I was very happy and couldn’t wait to take a listen.
Science Fiction’s Finest: Volume 1 features 36 tracks of music. The album is advertised as a “collection of the most beloved science fiction themes.” Most of the tracks are produced, arranged and performed by Dominik Hauser, but there are some tracks performed by other artists. The collection features music from some very popular films and television shows, like The Terminator, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV series), Thunderbirds, The Twilight Zone, Stargate, Caprica, Doctor Who and more.
As I listened to this collection, I found myself raising my eyebrows…not in ecstatic happiness and surprise, but in confusion. Why does the album start with Science Fiction Double Feature from The Rocky Horror Picture Show? I found the song amusing and, yes, it does talk about such science fiction classics as The Day of Triffids and It Came From Outer Space, but since when is The Rocky Horror Picture Show considered to be sci-fi?
I did find quite a few themes I had enjoyed over the years like the themes to The Twilight Zone, The New Outer Limits, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Knight Rider as well as I See You from Avatar, Fun, Fun, Fun from Red Dwarf and Where My Heart Will Take Me from Star Trek: Enterprise. I also enjoyed listening to some of the tracks I didn’t recognize like the theme of Battle: Los Angeles, Torchwood and Communion.
And yet, there were some tracks that I just couldn’t get on board with, most especially Dominik Hauser’s interpretation of the theme from The Terminator. This movie is one of my favorite science fiction films and the musical score by Brad Fiedel is iconic. Hauser’s re-interpretation of this theme, complete with female vocals and off-tempo beats and synths made the song barely recognizable. It also made me wonder just how many other tracks he re-interpreted in this manner and how much better those tracks may have been if he had just left them in their original format.
Another thing that bothered me was the claim that the album contains some of the most beloved science fiction themes. There are quite a few iconic themes that have been left off of the album, like the theme of Star Wars: A New Hope, Aliens, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (the original series) and the theme of the originalV miniseries, composed byJoe Harnell. How can a collection claim to be Science Fiction’s Finest without these striking themes?
While I enjoyed a great deal of this collection, I think the claims being made in the promotional materials are a bit off the mark. Perhaps Volume 2 will contain some of the aforementioned themes they left out, produced, arranged and performed by someone who is less interested in their interpretation of the music and more interested in getting it right.